elegraph's Profile

Title Last Reply

Paying it forward

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I didn't realize this is so common.

Apr 14, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food
2

Whatdya Put Hot Sauce On?

I put Chipotle Tabasco on eggs or anything made with eggs.

Apr 14, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Asian chili paste

Yes, it's called "Thai Red Chili Paste." You should be able to find it in your supermarket's Asian foods section.

Apr 14, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Paying it forward

Our family owns a restaurant in the rural lakes area of our state. We have an interesting dilemma. Three times in the past several months, strangers have paid for the meals of other guests they have just met in our dining room.

The first time was for an older couple and when the man who had been chatting with them paid for his meal, he asked our hostess for their check paid for theirs as well and left before he could be thanked.

The second time, a man approached our hostess and said there was a guest wearing a Vietnam Vet's hat and he wanted to buy their meal "just because." He, too, left before he could be acknowledged.

The third time two couples had been chatting across the tables. When one couple was paying their bill, the man put down an extra bill and said he wanted to cover the other couple's meal as well. After they left and the beneficiaries asked for their check, the hostess explained it had been covered. This time our hostess was concerned because the couple appeared to be very uncomfortable, almost insulted, and embarrassed as if the buyer had assumed they were broke.

As far as I'm concerned, we have the nicest customers in the world, but our hostess feels she is being put on the spot and doesn't want to be party to making any of our guests uncomfortable.

What do you think? Has this happened to you? How would you feel? How should our hostess handle this situation in the future?

Apr 12, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food

What's for Dinner #291 - the Taxman Cometh Edition [Through Aprl 16, 2014]

Tonight I made pan-seared salmon with horseradish-sour cream sauce, baked potatoes, and roasted cabbage with a mustard vinaigrette following a recipe in the March/April issue of Eating Well. I would have roasted it a little longer but will definitely try it again.

Apr 12, 2014
elegraph in Home Cooking
7

What would you consider are your 6 essential spices?

Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Cumin
Cayenne

Apr 12, 2014
elegraph in General Topics
1

Asian chili paste

It may have been a Thai red chili paste, which usually contains garlic and red chilies.

Apr 12, 2014
elegraph in General Topics
1

What is your oldest cookbook?

Thanks for the link! I love reading/collecting classic American cookbooks.

Apr 11, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food

Egg entrees for egg haters?

Savory crepes... I have a recipe calling for 4 eggs and you can fill or top them with just about anything.

Croque Monsieur... a ham and egg sandwich dipped in scrambled egg mixture and grilled.

Spinach salad with crispy bacon and finely crumbled hard-boiled eggs.

Macaroni and cheese with a topping of toasted, crumbled biscuits mixed with scrambled eggs.

Apr 11, 2014
elegraph in Home Cooking

Is there a fix for my chicken soup - it tastes sour

Haven't had this particular problem but it seems to me that "sour" results from too much acid. Try neutralizing the acid with a pinch of baking soda or something alkaline. Since this is experimental, try it on a small sample first before risking the entire batch. Good luck!

Apr 10, 2014
elegraph in Kosher

I left cooked veggies out all night - safe to eat?

There are many food-borne toxins that can be avoided by proper time and temperature control. If you are in good health and don't mind being sidelined by cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, feel free to eat food that has been sitting out at room temp for long periods of time. But in the interest of being a good hostess, it isn't hard to put out small amounts of an appetizer at one time and replenish it as needed, or to wrap and refrigerate leftovers within two hours of starting a meal.

I don't mean to be critical or contentious here, I just think it's more enjoyable for everyone if nobody gets sick from improper food handling. For that reason I do stick to that "rule" whether at the restaurant kitchen or at home.

Apr 09, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

I left cooked veggies out all night - safe to eat?

In foodservice the maximum time for any food to sit out at room temp is 2 hours.

Also, you can't smell the presence of food toxins.

Apr 07, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Corned Beef hash...from a can. Preferred brands?

Agree. We like Mary Kitchen the best. Use moderately high heat on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, flatten it as you spread it out and don't touch it for at least 10 minutes. If you have an electric skillet, heat it to just under 375. If it starts spitting and popping, turn the heat down. As it crisps and browns, much of the grease should cook off.

Apr 07, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Battling "condimentia"

Our fridge is on the small side so this is an issue for us, too. One time I stood there with the door open and remarked to my husband, "There's nothing in here but condiments." He replied, "Does that mean we're practicing safe eating?" (True story!) But there isn't a single one I could get rid of and not replace. I like to cook and experiment with lots of new recipes and each seems to require a special seasoning or sauce or something else I have to buy and store. Food would be very bland without them, so I have resigned myself to giving them storage space.

Apr 07, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Euell Gibbons

He may have been a joke back in the sixties (You-All Gibbons) but he influenced the likes of Alice Waters and presaged the local/sustainable movement which is burgeoning today.

Apr 07, 2014
elegraph in General Topics
1

Commercial Spice Rubs

Thanks for the link! I see they have no minimum order, unlike other sites I've visited.

Apr 07, 2014
elegraph in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Favorite Seasoning/Spice Blends

I grow curry in my herb garden each year and air-dry it for use over the winter. I use it to make a beef marinade consisting of vegetable oil, leftover black coffee, black pepper and crumbled curry. I would not use it in a curry powder, however.

Apr 05, 2014
elegraph in Home Cooking

Favorite Seasoning/Spice Blends

I love Penzey's "Barbecue of the Americas" used as a rub on pork or beef, for the grill or the slow cooker. I also like their new Southwest Seasoning and have used it in my spicy remoulade sauce for po'boys and fish tacos.

I always have on hand Emeril's Rustic Rub, which I make from a recipe I found online. I like it on chicken or pork.

When I cook shrimp creole or jambalaya, I use a Creole spice mix from Nathalie Dupree's Southern cookbook.

Apr 05, 2014
elegraph in Home Cooking

Help ID Original Use for old earthenware Jar (Robinson-Ransbottom)

Since they had a garden they most likely used this for fermenting pickles.

Apr 05, 2014
elegraph in Cookware

Mice and the dish drying rack?

We had a similar Tom and Jerry showdown in our house one night. The little mouse stood up to the cat on its hind legs, waving its little fists in the air. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it. The mouse won. But later I found a small hole chewed into a patio screen door so I know he made it outside safely.

Mice will go where there's food and water. Make sure you repair any dripping faucets or leaking drains. Put food away, clean the counters, sweep the floors and take out the garbage every night. You can't keep them out but you can be an inhospitable host.

Apr 03, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food

Would this rub you the wrong way? (House Guests selectively picking up the tab) and questions on house guest expectations

Agree. The world is full of free-loaders. Sorry for my cynicism but some people just weren't raised better.

Apr 03, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food

Would this rub you the wrong way? (House Guests selectively picking up the tab) and questions on house guest expectations

Living in a beautiful wooded lakes area, I've hosted a number of weekend guests. In my mind, the LEAST they can do is take everyone out for a meal on their dime. Surprisingly, that isn't obvious to our guests and I haven't found a subtle way to suggest it. Therefore, I no longer invite weekend guests or accept their self-invitations. I live to serve others but I am NOT a doormat!

Apr 03, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food
1

What do you want to find in a vacation rental kitchen?

My grandfather worked for the Soo Line, too, out of Moose Lake. In fact, he helped to lay the tracks. His name was John (Jack) Erwin. I LOVED riding the train between St. Paul and Moose Lake for visits during the summer. I knew every town in between and when to get off, where my grandparents would meet me at the station. I used to play conductor on their front porch, calling out the names of the stops. Thx for the memories!

Apr 03, 2014
elegraph in Cookware
1

Grapes!

Most pesticides can be removed/reduced by a brief soak in either diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Use 1 tsp. bleach to 1 gallon of water and soak 1 minute then rinse well. With a standard 35% HP, dilute 1 part with 11 parts water, soak 2-3 minutes and rinse well. I personally prefer the diluted bleach, having lived in places where chlorine was added liberally to drinking water. If that makes you uncomfortable, use a dilution of white vinegar and water instead.

Apr 02, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

how do you store your spices?

I keep spices in wall racks away from the stove and out of direct sunlight. I keep herbs in a cabinet near the stove. Oils and vinegars are on the counter next to the stove with no noticeable decline in quality.

No matter where you store herbs and spices, they only stay at their best for 6-12 months so buy them in small amounts and replace them at least once a year or increase the amounts called for in your recipes.

Apr 02, 2014
elegraph in Cookware

CHOW Reviews: Aerolatte Milk Frother

I use it to mix baby formula powder and water for my grandson. Sometimes just shaking the mix in the bottle causes dry powder to clog the nipple. My private joke is telling him he is getting a "formulatte, lightly frothed." Hubby uses it to mix chocolate syrup in his milk. Also good for mixing hot chocolate mix or dry soup stock into hot water. I love mine!

Apr 02, 2014
elegraph in Cookware

Asking a restaurant for recipe

No, they didn't claim it was theirs. The only wrongdoing was mine, for giving them the recipe in the first place. I was flattered by the request. After it was published I felt it was no longer special to our restaurant. That's why I wouldn't do it again.

Mar 31, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Asking a restaurant for recipe

I don't know what effect this had on our numbers or on sales of this menu item. I went against my better judgment and would not do it again if asked, even if I were given credit. Since a recipe can't be copyrighted, except for the process, the only protection we have against its misuse is to keep it private. Since it was published, any restaurant in the area can reproduce this item, and not necessarily well.

Mar 31, 2014
elegraph in General Topics

Do Chowhounds Tend To Be Creative/Artistic?

Graphic designer here, now mostly retired to restaurant biz. Also a musician and vocalist by avocation.

Mar 31, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food
1

Shady business practice?

It could be the restaurant owner is trying to reduce the many credit card fees: merchant discounts, merchant interchange fees, misc. merchant fees, credit equipment rental fees, etc. These could easily add up to 10% of the bill. Why not offer a cash discount? It would help the owner as well as the patron.

OTH, if the waiter is not reporting 100% of his tips, he would prefer payment in cash.

Mar 31, 2014
elegraph in Not About Food